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Research equity dialogue paper.

Equity in research and knowledge systems: Learning from dialogue events in Ethiopia and Uganda

In October and November 2018, INASP, in conjunction with local partners, facilitated dialogue events in Uganda and Ethiopia to consider issues of equity in research and knowledge systems within the two countries and in the broader regional and global contexts.

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In October and November 2018, INASP, in conjunction with local partners*, facilitated dialogue events in Uganda and Ethiopia to consider issues of equity in research and knowledge systems within the two countries and in the broader regional and global contexts.

The meetings, which included stakeholders from academia, government bodies and civil society, amongst others, revealed some common themes. 

  • A collective vision from the events gave four common and inter-related themes that are needed for equitable research and knowledge systems: coordination, collaboration, inclusion and self-sustaining.
  • The need for a national institution with the mandate to create a unified research system able to lead the governance, development, management, and funding of a national/country-focussed research and knowledge system emerged as a priority across the two dialogues.
  • The discussion on research funding highlighted the many influences that “externally supported development” has on a country’s capacity to autonomously shape its future. This includes funding from the North and the influence this often has on shaping a country-defined agenda. Pursuing alternative and diverse sources of funding as a strategic government/sector goal was common to both dialogues.
  • The two dialogue events emphasized that both women and men must benefit from any solutions advanced to promote gender equity. Both events recognized the great contributions both women and men have made to their societies – historically and currently – in every sphere of the lives of the country. 
  • The importance of technology to the realization of the research system visions was clearly demonstrated at the dialogue events. Most striking was the fact that a number of researchers sometimes did not actually know about the existence of the national research and education networks (NRENs) and almost always did not know about their foundational roles in enabling the operation of a coherent research system nationally.
  • A consensus across both dialogues was a desire and commitment to see the quality of publications improved, through: the availability of local publications; the need for the academy to revisit its criteria for promoting academics; and the improvement of research designs and studies. There was also an agreed need to improve the quality of these publications whatever the content, source and the publication outlets, and to routinely and consistently apply internationally accepted standards to their work.

* Uganda Council for Science and Technology in Uganda and Ethiopian Academy of Sciences in Ethiopia.
Work funded by Sida.